Cook Southern New Year Foods

Hoppin’ John and Skippin’ Jenny:

A Southern  Tradition

Tradition in the American south has wide influences. In this traditional New Years dish, you can see cultural influences from Europe and Africa.

Hoppin’ John is a dish that combines rice and black-eyed peas. Typically it is flavored with a ham hock or bacon. But if you don’t eat pork, you can make a vegetarian version that is just as flavorful.  You can use a smoked turkey neck or wing instead. This year we used spicy turkey sausage and it was great!

Stories go: how many black-eyed peas you get on your fork, is how much luck you will have in the New Year. Three peas should be left on your plate to represent health, wealth, and love or faith, hope, and charity or even luck, romance and money.

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Southern New Years foods are accompanied by food items that represent wealth.
Greens like collards, turnip greens, Swiss chard, cabbage or kale represent “folding money” so be sure to serve plenty of greens on New Year’s.

Cut carrots into rounds to represent gold coins; serve corn bread because it is the color of gold and those kernels of corn in the cornbread are nuggets of gold.

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Tradition states to “Eat like a pauper on New Year’s day and eat like a king the rest of the year.”

In some parts of the south, this dish is called “Hoppin’ John” an New Year’s Day and is called “Skippin’ Jenny” after New Year’s day.

After that, we just call it beans and rice, served up with a “mess of collards” and cornbread.

Don’t forget the pot liquor from cooking collards. I’m so glad this isn’t just for New Years, it is so good!

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Hoppin’ John and Skippin’ Jenny

  • 1/2# Spicy Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced thin or minced
  • 1-1/2 cups white rice, raw (I recommend Basmati or Texmati)
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh black pepper

Method:

Slice the sausage into 1″ slices. Sauté in olive oil for 3 minutes.

Add onion. Sweat the onions (cook without browning) until they become translucent.

Add the garlic, rice and thyme. Stir to coat the rice.

Add the chicken stock, black-eyed peas, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Bring the rice to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.

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Crisp Green Salad, Delicious Collards, Hoppin John and Fresh Bread
Use canned black-eyed peas or pre-cook fresh ones before adding to the rice.

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